There are several reasons why expat women face different challenges to men. While the challenges women face can vary considerably, there are a number of common issues that a large majority of expat women experience during their time living in a foreign country. With this in mind, being aware and having a good understanding of these common issues is a useful source of power for women, and can be used to create a positive and pleasurable life abroad. Here at Santa Fe Relocation, we’re looking at the challenges expat women face to help you understand how to stay safe when living in a foreign country.
Even though safety is an issue for women across the globe, it plays a more distinguished role in the lives of single women living in a foreign country. The real challenge for women is to find a good balance between disbarring self-confidence and taking minded precautions.
The primary fact that leaves an individual particularly vulnerable in any situation is unfamiliarity. As a result, being as observant to surroundings and the cultural atmosphere is one of the best precautions women can take. Understanding which streets and neighbourhoods are safest, and understanding a location’s history, culture and prominent social issues are important to put things into perspective.
In addition, learning the language is another important factor to understanding what is going on around you. This also enables women to network with other expats as well as the local community, ensuring they feel safe and secure in a foreign country.
Women Still Aren’t Equal To Men
When moving abroad, women should prepare themselves for being treated differently than they may be used to back in their familiar culture. Whilst it can be difficult to emphasise the true importance of understanding how different various cultural attitudes are, by understanding the cultural differences of your new home country, you will find it far easier to adapt to your new surroundings. This can help you to ensure you are acting appropriately in certain social situations.
Many women find expatriation far more difficult than men do. This is due to the woman’s fundamental role within the family. According a report conducted by the US-based Interchange Institute, mothers with teenagers often have the most difficult time adjusting, which, considering the nature of teenagers, is merely a surprise. This is because the stress and difficulty the family go through when they are moving – and have moved – abroad generally falls into the lap of the mother.
Further to this, in general women need to feel connected to a greater degree than men do. As a result, being away from family and friends for any period of time is difficult for many women. Despite being away from family and friends, the use of internet technology and social media has made this issue far more bearable, as friends and families can keep in contact wherever they are in the world. Regardless, keeping in contact regularly is not able to replace being together at special occasions, and thus this is what women find most challenging.
As well as having a connection with their own families, women also require the need to feel connected with a community to overcome the feeling of isolation. Feeling connected with a community will help avoid the fear of the unknown and various insecurities about being ‘different’ and not fitting in. Whilst this can be a major challenge for many women, learning the language of your new home country can significantly help, as you will be able to better engage in the community. In turn, this also makes tasks, such as asking for help, far less frustrating, attenuating feelings of isolation.
Another challenge expat women face is networking. As a result of the above reasons behind the challenges many expat women face, women in particular need to connect, feel secure and have access to moral support should they ever need it. They need to be able to network with friends, family, other expats and people with similar interests alike.
Whilst nobody finds it easy being thrown into a new culture, it can be particularly challenging for women. From feeling connected with a community and overcoming the feeling of isolation, to learning how to cope with stress abroad, women often find it more difficult to settle into a new home, neighbourhood and country compared to men. Nevertheless, being aware of these issues enables women to uncover their inner strength, and use it to create a positive life abroad.
Have you considered living abroad? Contact us today for more information on the benefits of relocating, and find out if it is the right move for you!